How Frontiers Healthcare Services Supported for Ghana’s Innovative Fight Against COVID-19

by Victor Adetimilehin

In the annals of public health, certain moments shine as beacons of hope, showing the power of innovation, resilience, and social responsibility. Like Nightingale and her lamp in the world war, Frontiers Healthcare Services (FHS) took the helm in the battle against COVID-19 at Kotoka International Airport. In a move that may have been one of the most significant interventions in keeping Ghana safe from the then-raging pandemic.

From the outset, the COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges on a global scale, particularly for international travel. Countries worldwide scrambled to protect their borders and populations. Among these, Ghana emerged as a pioneer in shaping a new narrative for safe travel during a pandemic.

At the heart of this story is the innovative approach implemented at Kotoka International Airport, where FHS spearheaded a remarkable testing system. Despite the unprecedented challenges, FHS executed this ambitious project within an impressively tight timeframe of just two weeks. No government agency or national laboratory could have mobilized the required resources and infrastructure as swiftly and effectively as FHS did.

Among several competitors, FHS was selected to execute the project. FHS, in partnership with the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) and the Port Health Unit of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), conceptualized and constructed an ultramodern laboratory complex at the Kotoka International Airport. This complex consisted of two state-of-the-art clean room laboratories and seventy private glass sampling cubicles.

FHS’s laboratories boasted 80 testing machines capable of generating 960 results within 30 minutes. Independent studies confirmed the tests’ high sensitivity and specificity, making them a reliable tool in the fight against the pandemic.

The reopening of Ghana’s air borders in September 2020 was made possible by the introduction of this innovative testing system. FHS implemented a two-tiered testing regime involving a compulsory PCR test at the country of embarkation within 72 hours of travel and another test on arrival at the airport in Accra. This approach addressed the limitations of pre-departure testing and mitigated the risk of passengers manipulating the results.

Yet, FHS’s contribution to Ghana goes beyond technology and testing. Their exemplary Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives have set them apart. FHS’s dedication to the people of Ghana and the West African region has been a testament to their commitment to the greater good. FHS employed over 800 staff at a time when many faced job losses due to the pandemic. The initiative also provided training opportunities for medical professionals and students.

In September 2020, FHS extended a hand to Ghana’s neighbors in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by offering free COVID-19 testing. This noble gesture underscored the importance of regional cooperation during a global crisis, a lesson that resonated far beyond our borders.

Another shining example of FHS’s commitment to the nation came in the form of a partnership with the National Youth Authority Ghana and Youth Connect Africa. In October 2021, this collaboration brought down testing costs for 217 individuals, primarily youth, significantly easing their financial burden during challenging times.

In February 2022, FHS played a pivotal role in ensuring the safe return of Ghanaians stranded in Ukraine by providing free testing for evacuees. Their unwavering support in a moment of crisis embodied the spirit of a responsible corporate citizen.

Remarkably, FHS contributed substantially to Ghana’s healthcare sector by funding a life-saving heart operation; their generous donation of $7,000 served as a ray of hope for the recipient.

Children were not forgotten. FHS offered free COVID-19 tests to those under 15 during two critical periods: from November 2020 to February 2021 and again from December 2021 to March 2022. This compassionate initiative undoubtedly eased the worries of countless families.

Additionally, FHS played a pivotal role in retesting at quarantine centers, conducted in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service. This effort ensured the safe return of individuals who had initially tested positive for COVID-19. 

The initiative was met with great praise, not only within Ghana but also internationally. Visiting teams from various countries lauded FHS’s innovative approach to testing at Kotoka International Airport, considering it one of the most robust responses to the pandemic globally.

FHS’s contributions were also recognized locally, earning them accolades at the 2023 National Honors & Awards and the Best Covid Lab award at the 2022 Ghana-West Africa Healthcare Excellence Awards.

While FHS’s efforts faced unwarranted controversy and misinformation, the facts remain clear. This project, undertaken in the midst of a global crisis, exemplified leadership, innovation, and corporate responsibility. It showcased the potential for public-private partnerships to address critical challenges and provided a glimmer of hope in a time of uncertainty.

In reflecting on these extraordinary feats, we find that FHS’s leadership and innovation in a time of crisis have not only redefined the travel landscape but also set a shining example for all of us. They have shown that, even amidst adversity, comprehensive approaches blending cutting-edge technology with social responsibility can light the path to a brighter, safer future.

Ghana’s journey, led by FHS, is a testament to the remarkable resilience and adaptability of our people. In times of challenge, we have seen a beacon of hope and unity that will undoubtedly inspire future generations.

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